One of the most daring symbols of Utah’s independence had a makeover not too long ago.
There have been discussions in several states regarding the possibility of redesigning their state flags.
At the same time that the United States observes Flag Day to commemorate the adoption of the first flag of the United States by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, a number of states are debating whether or not the emblems on their flags accurately represent the distinctive qualities of their homelands and populations.
According to Ted Kaye, author of “Good” Flag, “Bad” Flag: How to Design a Great Flag and secretary of the North American Vexillological Association, which is an organization devoted to the study of flags, this is not an uncommon way of thinking. In fact, he says, it’s rather common.
Kaye remarked that flags were intended to be used as a form of communication. “The purpose of your communication message will not be served if it cannot be understood.”
The previous version of Utah’s flag was described as being “indistinguishable from other flags. He stated that it was unsuccessful.
The original version of Utah’s flag, which was designed in 1911, included a design that paid tribute to the state’s Mormon pioneers. The new flag, which was adopted this year, places an emphasis on the well-known beehive symbol, which serves as a symbol of the collective work ethic of state inhabitants. However, the design of the new flag is considerably simpler, and it features mountain peaks.
Kaye asserted that New Mexico had no reason to be concerned about the influence of its flag, which features a brilliant yellow field with a red zia in the center and was designed in 1923. It follows to the ideas that Kaye extols in his book, like keeping the design simple, using two or three basic colors, employing meaningful symbolism, and excluding a state seal from the design.
He remarked about the flag of New Mexico that “It’s such a stunningly simple piece of design,” adding that it captures people’s attention.
The design wasn’t always quite as distinctive as it is now.
The initial edition, which was crafted by historian Ralph E. Twitchell and had the appearance of a vintage postcard, disregarded all of Kaye’s guidelines. It was a hodgepodge of symbols, colors, and phrases, with a flag of the United States nestled in the top left corner, the number 47 at the top right, and the state seal to the bottom right, all of which were surrounded by the words “The Sunshine State.” On a background that was a dark blue color, the words “New Mexico” hovered in white letters that were slanted upward and became smaller as if they were receding into the distance.
Residents of New Mexico did not take to the flag designed by Twitchell, which was officially adopted in 1915, three years after the state of New Mexico became the 47th state in the union. After another decade, it was changed out for the one that is still in use today.
According to the information provided by the Secretary of State’s Office, in the year 1920, the New Mexico Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution initiated a campaign to have the state adopt a flag that better reflected the “unique character” of the state. In 1923, the chapter held a competition for design, and Santa Fe doctor and archaeologist Harry Mera emerged victorious.
On the website of the state agency, it is stated that the winning flag design was created by the doctor’s wife, Reba, and it features a symbolic red Zia on a field of yellow. The act that made the Mera design the official state flag was passed into law by Governor Arthur T. Hannett in March of 1925.
The North American Vexillological Association published the findings of a study a few years ago, which rated the flag of New Mexico as the finest in the nation for its simplicity and imagery. The survey was conducted to determine which flag was the greatest overall in the country.
According to Kaye, the colors yellow and red may be an homage to the original Spanish flag that flew over the state until 1821, when Mexico won its independence from Spain and took possession of the New Mexico Territory. During that time, the state was flown over by the Mexican flag.
However, it is unknown whether the Spanish explorers who arrived in the territory between the years 1500 and 1600 brought any flags with them.
“Flags were not important when you went riding out in the wilderness,” recalled Kaye. “It was just you and your horse.” “Tents were of more significance than blankets. When you first start out, being established is the most crucial thing since that’s when you’ll see the flag being raised.
Rob Martinez, the State Historian, is of the same opinion. According to what he said, “we don’t know for sure of any official banner or flag that was brought” by the Spanish. It doesn’t appear that nations began using flags as a symbol of their identity until the late 1700s or the 1800s.
If anything, he claimed, the Spanish introduced iconography of coats of arms from the numerous kingdoms in Spain or other visual “indications of a Catholic religious element.”
Nevertheless, throughout the years, a number of flags have flown over New Mexico, including the Spanish flag, the Mexican flag, the United States flag, and even the Confederate flag for a short time in certain sections of the state during the American Civil War.
According to Martinez, the flying of state flags is significant not only historically but also culturally since it reflects “what we do as a community to show we are committed to each other and we are committed to the state.”
According to what he said, the state flag of New Mexico is associated with a promise of solidarity. He said, “I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.” The vow, which was initially started in the 1950s, was not made public until 1963.
These days, it’s not uncommon to find both the state flag and the American flag flying side by side in New Mexico institutions such as schools and government buildings. Martinez stated that they continue to be “a significant component of both our national and state identities.”
The United States flag was updated in 1912 to reflect the addition of new stars to represent the newly formed states of New Mexico and Arizona when both territories were admitted to the union.
If Puerto Rico does not become a state, according to Kaye, it is highly improbable that the flag of the United States will change significantly in the near future.
Then, he continued by saying, “It’ll be interesting to see how they fit another star on it.”